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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Home-Front Sacrifice Is Part of Guard Duty

September 06, 2003

Re "Reserve, Guard Units Hit Hard," Sept. 2: I very much sympathize with all the families who have lost loved ones in the Middle East, but this article upset me. My husband is a 12-year member of the California Air National Guard, and he has been on active duty since shortly after the 9/11 attacks -- activated first for duty at LAX for six months. Our daughter was only 4 months old at the time, so I have firsthand knowledge of the changes that occur in the household when a spouse is activated. Please stop presenting the military as the bad guys with such quotes as "the military did not even provide postage." The military, just like any other employer, is not obligated to fund the contents and sending of letters and care packages. Sending these items is a personal choice, just as it is also a personal choice to enlist in the military.

Though I can completely understand the frustration and financial strain activation may cause, I do not understand the anger I read about from girlfriends and wives of servicemen. These men are being activated to fulfill the responsibilities of their jobs as reservists or guardsmen -- reinforcement of the military. If one does not ever want to be activated or deployed, or if activation will put one's family in financial ruin or cause havoc in your life, then one should not enlist. You cannot enjoy the active-duty perks also extended to reservists and National Guard members and their families without always remembering that there is a possibility of being called to duty.

As for the wives who "have never paid bills" and "don't know how to mow the lawn" ... these things have absolutely nothing to do with the military.

Cynthia Stroh

Santa Clarita

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